Conspiracy theory and American foreign policy

By Tim Aistrope

Conspiracy theory and American foreign policy


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Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-9919-9
  • Pages: 184
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £80.00
  • Published Date: March 2016
  • BIC Category: International relations, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Conspiracy Theories, Society & social sciences / International relations, United States of America, USA, POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / Diplomacy, International Relations
  • Series: New Approaches to Conflict Analysis


Conspiracy theory and American foreign policy examines the relationship between secrecy, power and interpretation around international political controversy, where foreign policy orthodoxy comes up hard against alternative interpretations. It does so in the context of American foreign policy during the War on Terror, a conflict that was quintessentially covert and conspiratorial. This book adds a new dimension to the debate by examining the 'Arab-Muslim paranoia narrative': the view that Arab-Muslim resentment towards America is motivated to some degree by a paranoid perception of American power in the Middle East. This narrative subsequently made its way into numerous US Government policy documents and initiatives advancing a War of Ideas strategy aimed at winning the 'hearts and minds' of Arab-Muslims.

This study provides a novel reading of the processes through which legitimacy and illegitimacy is produced in foreign policy discourses. It will appeal to a wide cross-disciplinary audience interested in the burgeoning issues of conspiracy, paranoia, and popular knowledge, including their relationship to and consequences for contemporary politics.


Part I: Conceptualising conspiracy theory
1. The paranoid style in international politics
2. Conspiracy culture
Part II: Conspiracy discourse in the War on Terror
3. Strategies of deterrence and frames of containment
4. The War of Ideas
5. Conspiracy, misinformation and public diplomacy
Select bibliography

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